Tuesday, September 26, 2006


So, what part didn't we like. That we haven't been seeing it and saying so ourselves OR that we've had a foreign national mention it in international press.

You know what I am talking about. We have just been, yet again, slammed by an 'honest' diplomat this time, who for once threw all diplomatic caution to the wind to vent out his true feelings about a country he spent the last three years of his professional life in. Arnold Parzer, the Dutch Diplomat went to town, talking about his real time experience in India to Het Financieele Dagblad, the Dutch newspaper. His Embassy was quick to offer a redressal by saying that it had nothing to do with the retiring Diplomat's 'personal' views and the MEA was OK with getting its big ego massaged with an apology as the Diplomat in question is after all retiring to his home country in just about three months and they don't have much time to get into the paperwork for making the rest of his tenure miserable and ask for him to be sent back unceremoniously. I am sure it is not an outcome of MEA's largesse that not much ado is being made out of this. Knowing our bureaucracy, three months is too little a time even to initiate the document that will then go on to become an official complaint from the Indian side for the diplomatic slight to its global perception.

Here's what Mr. Parzer said about New Delhi. "Anything that can go wrong, does go wrong; everyone interferes with everyone else; the people are a darn nuisance; the climate is hell; the city is a garbage dump." And that it is the most miserable place he has lived in.

But for the climate bit, which becomes a talking point for a perpetually wet London too, what part of his tirade are we objecting to. Tell me what works in Delhi - THE CAPITAL CITY - ............ DESU, MCD, NDMC, MTNL, Mahanagar Palika Nigam, the Water Department, DTC, Bluelines, Credit Card companies, Drainage system, Sewage system, Garbage collection and segregation system, the markets, the produce, their prices, the education system ................... the list is truly exhaustive encompassing each and every aspect of civic life and utility.

Try getting honest bills for your electricity, water, phone usage. Try getting your passport made or renewed. Try selling or buying property. Try buying the holiday package for a relaxing experience and try coming out unscathed of the harrowing deal once through. Try buying fresh vegetables, meats or dairy. Try being sane on Delhi roads - a terror ridden lesson in Anger Management. Try sending your children to school not knowing whether they will come back safely. Try picking up an issue with the illiterate goons who ply our public transport. Try working for the graveyard shifts of the booming BPO industry and being lucky if you come back home safe and sound. Try shopping in modern, glitzy malls only to be mauled by uncouth public. Worst of all, try being simply a woman in this metropolis and lead your life the way you want to without jeopardising your modesty to the flesh hounds.

Population, pollution, corruption, crime, bastardisation of culture, erosion of the ecological balance, degradation of values, vandalism of the heritage..........where do I stop. A senior journalist on a premier news channel, recently, said that we have a state of anarchy, a civil war going on. I don't think he is wrong.

Can we, as citizens, office bearers, powers-that-be, contribute back to the city / country that gives us our very identity instead of raping its soul with our gruesome, senseless, impassionate, selfish, dastardly acts. And then, only then, raise heckles should we hear something 'wrong' about our city / country.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Guess, what's about to come under the hammer! Right now, it's life size bronze replica is being shown at a New York Art Gallery and it may only be a matter of time when Christie's high brow officials put a lens over it to study its intricate details and decide to auction it to an equally unbelievable audience for whom, I guess, anything could be art.

Yes, we are talking about a Hollywood actor's illegitimate child's first solid poop that has caught the fancy of some art afficionados. Sad to see that the art lovers have come to such a state when their object of inspiration lies in excreta albeit that of an infant whose sole claim to fame happens to be that she was born out of wedlock of a father famous for his screen histrionics and a wannabe actor mother. What happened to our values and character that made us look up to the truly great achievers.

If that's the criteria, how about taking my two beautiful babies as probable subjects - a black and tan beauty of a German Shepherd and a bonny, golden Labrador and casting their daily output into perhaps gold. I can assure you, theirs is definitely a work of art in terms of shape, texture, form, colour or whatever parameter you wish to choose.

Or perhaps, you may want to get a bit more exotic and hit the slums of a third world country and handpick a really impoverished kid who, being deprived of even one fair meal a day, spends lot of energy trying to take out a proper (S-shaped, as Oprah would say) piece of digestive end product. What a rare and thought provoking work of art that would make for. And I am told, anything to do with the third world or Asian exotica sells at the moment.

I wonder what's going to be the next source of fascination for the soul starved, hype-stricken, marketing savvy art lovers. Maybe a frozen-in-time fountain of someone's first or last pee, lit with neon lights and put up on the world's canvas for all to see.